On appearance alone, you could be forgiven to think that CHAI would be another cutesy idol group- anyone new to the group could take any frame from their video clip for “Sayonara Complex” out of context and it would fit that stereotypical mold. However, upon actually listening, what is revealed is something much, much more exciting. This is a ROCK outfit in all senses of the word; and despite the cute veneer, there’s some truly hard hitting, focused tunes coming out of this surprising beast of a band.
The first thing you will notice when hitting up CHAI’s second EP is how damn punchy it is. Sure it’s loud (but playfully so), but it’s also very crisp. Guitar work is always front and center, and the drumming simple but tight. The bass is beautifully buzzy and holds quite a bit of weight to it, has great key work, and is all held together by ridiculously appealing and cute vocals from all members of the group- it almost feels like you’re at a private live set.
Secondly, and most importantly, the tunes are fantastic. REALLY fantastic. Every song on the five track EP offers something equally charming and memorable. Whether it be the sweetly upbeat march of single “Sayonara Complex” or the bouncy, hard edged rapping elements of “Boys Seko Men“, nothing here seems redundant or out of place. It’ll hook you in from the opener “Sound and Stomach” right through to the end of its short and sweet 20 minute run-time.
So go ahead, go and listen to this surprising little gem while it’s hot. Conventionality is definitely NOT what the group are going for- and bravely have given a surprising, charming mix of pop, funk and indie all wrapped nicely in a rock coating with this EP. If you’re even remotely into Japanese rock music, this is a sure fire bet that you will enjoy it. It leaves the listener satisfied, encourages repeat listens and makes you crave more from the group. One to keep an eye on for sure!
8/10 CHAI’s second EP is a fantastic listen, it’s boundless energy, bouncy tunes and heavy dose of playfulness merge to create one of the most un-skippable releases of 2017.